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Business owner Jeffrey started franchising in his 80s

Business owner Jeffrey started franchising in his 80s

Jeffrey Robinson was a business owner and worked in the textiles industry for 60 years. Still keen for a challenge with less long distance travel he started a franchising career in his 80s.

image003How did you get started?

Tubz: What was your career before you started franchising?

Jeffrey Robinson: I had my own company in the textile business.

T: Had you been doing that for quite a long time?

JR: About 60 years.

T: Why did you want the change?

JR: The textiles business had changed. It involved a lot of travelling to China and places like that. I’m not getting any younger so I decided to leave the business to my son, and I would try something else.

T: Why franchising and why Tubz?

JR: It appealed to me. It was not an expensive start-up and it was instant money from the start. That was the thing that appealed to me.

T: Did you look at any options other than Tubz?

JR: Two or three but most of the ones that I saw were computer orientated and I’m not computer literate enough to do that.

T: Who was involved in the decision making process?

JR: Just me.

T: What was the most important thing when making your decision?

JR: I needed someone with back-up. I went to see Tubz, I was impressed with it. I went down to the warehouse.

T: What challenges were you expecting when you started the business?

JR: The normal retail things. Because all my business has been dealing wholesale, I’ve never dealt with retail. Dealing with the public is an entirely different attitude that you have to take.

How did you find the set-up process?

T: How long did it take to get up and running?

JR: Once I made the decision and I paid the money, two weeks. In two weeks I had received the first lot of towers and then we had two or three sites the next week and that’s when we started. So you could say in one to three weeks it was moving.

T: Did that process meet your expectations?

JR: Yes, I expected it to be that sort of timing.

T: How easy was it to find suitable sites for your machines?

JR: Tubz do that for me.

What were your goals?

T: What were your goals with the new business? What did you aim to get from it?

JR: An income. When I first went down and had the interview, I told them I didn’t want to do it for tin money, it has to give me an income. Going by the figures they provided me, when I reach a certain target I will know whether my calculations are right.

T: How soon did you start receiving an income?

JR: At the moment, I’m not taking an income out. All I’m doing is paying back. My target is 100 machines by the end of the year and that, I estimate, would give me the minimum income.

T: How many machines did you start with?

JR: At the moment, I’ve got 50. I started with 25. It has been, I think, seven months. What I’m looking for now, and the conversation I’m having with Tubz, is to gain another 25.

T: What was the income you had in mind?

JR: About £500 a week.

T: As you’re progressing so far, does that look realistic?

JR: Yes, I’m scheduled for that.

T: How has moving into franchising affected you compared to the business you were running before?

JR: The textile business is a very stressful business. This is less stressful, much less. The reason I want 100 and as fast as possible is because I want it to be a bit more stressful. It will make me work better. It does give you the inclination to work hard. I need that motivation. That’s the way I’ve been all my life.

T: Do you enjoy working with people in this job?

JR: I think people are generally very friendly. If you’re friendly too, I think it’s okay.The majority of my customers are very friendly and they’re pleased to see you when you come through the door and they’re very helpful.

Gareth regained confidence franchising after car accident

Gareth regained confidence franchising after car accident

Gareth Bishop was in a bad car accident in 2007. Needing a new career he found that franchising gave him back his confidence and led him to charity work.

Finished and got the medal to prove it

Gareth completing a marathon for Tubz chosen charity Starlight

How did you get started?

Tubz: Before you actually decided to invest in a Tubz business, what was it you were looking for and why?

Gareth: Well basically, I was in a bad car accident in 2007 so I couldn’t return to my normal job. So I had to look for something that was within my needs, and my ability, at that time. And the vending machine concept popped into my head.

T: What other options did you look at and why did you pick Tubz?

G: I was attracted to the franchise model because of all the help and support that was there. That was important after losing my confidence and ability in the car accident.

Tubz reassured me at the start and I bought 10 vending machines just to take a punt. And Tubz were true to their word. The stock and the machines arrived within a couple of days and then within a week after that the emails came through for my new sites. They delivered and I did my bit. And the rest is history.

T:  So was the help and support the most important thing for you when you were evaluating your options?

G: Yes, definitely the help and support with coming out of a bad car accident. Just needing that support, that safety net, was really what attracted me.

T:  Was it just yourself that was involved in the decision making process, or was there anyone else?

G: I had the help, support and guidance of my parents as well but basically I knew my own weaknesses and I knew my own strengths. I knew what I needed and what I didn’t, so ultimately it started with me.

photo1How did you find the set-up process?

T:  So you said it took about a week for the machines to get there. How long did it take you to actually get fully up and running?

G:: I was up and running with 10 vending machines in not that long at all. It was maybe eight weeks until I had all the stock and towers delivered and assembled, stickers put on, wrapped up and my sites as well. So they were located quickly.

T:  Did the process itself meet your expectations? And everyone that was involved?

G: I was lucky enough to work with Chris and I went from 10 units first and it went smoothly, so I purchased 25 and again that went smoothly. So then I was confident enough to purchase 100 towers after that.

T:  How many machines do you currently have?

G: Well at the moment I’ve got about 135. I’ve started to do the Pringles machines as well, so I started to put those alongside the Tubz towers. I’ve got about 35 towers in storage at the moment and I’m just waiting to get more new sites.

T:  So have you experienced any other benefits since starting your Tubz business?

G: Well obviously I basically went from a car accident and benefits, to managing my own franchise.

Also Tubz work with the charity Starlight, so I started doing charity work for them, and Tubz made that relationship happen pretty easily. It was only a matter of sending Starlight an email saying that I’m a Tubz franchisee and that opened up the door for me to do charity work as well which is deeply rewarding.

I climbed Kilimanjaro for Starlight so that’s a direct benefit as well. It kind of planted that seed in my mind to do charity work. So that was a huge benefit for me.

Franchisee Russell cut working hours in half

Franchisee Russell cut working hours in half

Russell Orme has worked in franchising his whole life and decided the best next step for him was a vending franchise. Since then he’s managed to cut his previous working hours in half and goes on four holidays a year. 


How did you get started?

Tubz: How did you get started with Tubz?

Russell: I started with a hundred bundle because I knew I was going to be doing it full time. Five years on, I’ve got 230.

In the last five years I’ve invested when and if possible. Half are sweet machines, half are Pringles machines, and I have around five or six toy machines.

For those 230 I’ve probably got 120 sites, as most of my machines are in twos in each venue. So it cuts your fuel costs down and when you get to a venue you’re collecting two, three, four machines when on a normal basis you’d be collecting one.

T: Is that working well for you?

R: Yes, of course.

T: What did you do before this business?

R: I’ve only had three jobs in my life. I was a milkman for 11 years on a franchise basis, then I moved into petrol stations for 10 years on a franchise basis, and then I’ve just had Tubz. 

Why change?

T: Why did you want to move from petrol stations to this kind of franchise?

R: The petrol station was 24 hours a day, 70 hours a week. I wanted to halve my hours, so this is what I looked at. I looked at a few other businesses first but this is the one that me and my financial adviser chose because of the minimal risk. I haven’t looked back.

T: So how much did you invest at the beginning?

R: For the hundred, it was £20,000 but you’ve got to go for it if you want to work full time. Obviously, I’ve got my money back now five years down the line. I should imagine it’s probably worth £60,000 now with the amount of investment I’ve made. That’s what you’ve got to look at.

What challenges have you faced?

T: What challenges were you expecting when you first started up with the Tubz business?

R: You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right kind of clients and the right kind of footfall. You’ve got to get the machines out first and then you’ve got to give it another month to see how things are going. That was the first major task and then it was finding routes and finding out when sites are open.

T: How long is your working week?

R: I probably do around 30 hours a week now, cutting in half my previous workload which was in the petrol stations. That’s what I wanted to do and I’ve done that.

T: That was the goal, to cut your working hours?

R: You can’t just keep doing 70 hours a week. Staff are ducking, you’ve got to do their hours as well. No, it’s impossible. So after 10 years, I’d had enough.

How has your lifestyle changed?

T: It must have been a change to your lifestyle taking on the new business?

R: Yes, it was. I wasn’t getting any time at home, really. I looked at that as well as other franchise options and saw that with Tubz you could leave the machines for a week and still be earning a little bit of money. Plus at the end of my time running petrol stations I’d lost £19,000 in drive-offs alone, so that stress is gone.

T: So its had a real impact on your free time?

R: We just got back from Mexico last week.

How do you run your business?

T: You say you have about 230 machines now, do you manage those by yourself?

R: Yes. As I’m just talking to you now I’m at a site.

T: Is the flexibility something you’re happy with?

R: Absolutely unreal. I went down to Tubz and met everybody, I’ve got them on Facebook and we’ve got a dream team. I get on with them there pretty well.

T: It sounds like it’s had a real positive effect on your life.

R: The hour cutting and and halving the workload, and I’m on my own. I don’t have to rely on anybody else. If you’ve got staff that are moaning and complaining they can’t come in, that part of it I don’t miss whatsoever. Now I can pick my hours whenever I want to. I haven’t got to get up at two in the morning and cover somebody’s shift. I can go at ten in the morning or six at night; it doesn’t really matter. I’ve worked it to my advantage. I tend to have three or four holidays a year now.

T:How challenging is the day-to-day running of the business?

R: Let’s put it this way, we came back from Mexico and I had about 13 or 14 calls, a couple of emails and I’d got through 20 boxes of Tubz products in 6 days.

What are your plans?

T: So you’re happy with 230 Tubz machines at the moment?

R: We’ll see how it goes when I’ve got some more money. I know some of the Tubz people, they’ve got 300 and 400 machines but I’m sure they need people to go around with them.

T: At a certain stage you would need staff?

R: You would, it would be impossible. Then it’s a money issue and it’s a trustability thing. That was the thing with garages. If you had any days off you were wondering what was going on. If you’re on your own, it’s only down to yourself.

T: So you’re happy going solo for the moment?

R: I wouldn’t do it any other way now.

You can see Russell’s testimonial here, and other franchisees discuss their success stories here and here.

Tour operator chooses franchising for retirement income

Tour operator chooses franchising for retirement income

George Sielicki is a former tour operator who made a late career change to franchising, in order to provide himself with a retirement income. 

retirement income

How did you get started?

Tubz: What kind of business were you looking for?

George: Something I could run myself, be my own boss, choose my own hours. Obviously, job satisfaction, to be happy doing what I was going to do.

T: What were you doing before?

G: I was working for a tour operator behind a computer. Monday-Friday, 9-5. It was okay. When I started it was three private owners, three directors who set it up. A couple of years later after I joined they decided to sell out, take the money and run for it. They sold out to the banks. Then everything went downhill. I got fed up.

T: Were you left without a job when that finished?

G: Yes. Well I was forced to leave because I was so fed up. A lot of us were doing quite important work and there were constant interruptions and extra tasks we had to do. That was the final straw. 

T: What other options did you look at before you chose Tubz?

G: Quite a few. One franchise where you would be employed by a number of estate agents to put up for sale signs, and look after the signs. Then there was an internet estate agency. There were a couple of other things that I looked at but I was looking for something fairly straight forward, nothing complicated, without too big an investment.

What challenges did you face?

T: When you decided to start up with Tubz, what challenges were you expecting?

G: Initially it looked fairly straight-forward. Going round pubs or social clubs, topping the machine up, emptying it, giving it a bit of a clean, making sure everything’s okay then going away. That was it, it sounded straight-forward. You go in, take the money out, top it up, clean it, go away. You do that about eight or ten times a day. When the reality set in I realised there was more to it than that.

T: How long did it take to get up and running?

G: About six months. Site finding is not that easy these days, but they [Tubz] found some sites and it was a gradual build up. Once I got to 30-40, I was getting into the swing of things. I was still working part time for the tour operator. Once I got to 35-50 machines that’s when I packed up with the tour operator.

T: How easy was it to find suitable sites, or did Tubz do that for you?

G: I tried to find my own sites but that’s not that easy because at the same time you’re looking after your business. You pop into a potential site, but the person you want to speak to may not be there. Because of this I initially left everything up to Tubz.

retiree income

What were your goals?

T: What were your goals when you first started out?

G: To make it into a profitable business. Not work too many hours a week, take it steady, but have a reasonable return. The job is an enjoyable job, you get out and about, you meet all sorts of people.

Plus the fact that Tubz has a contract with Starlight, the charity, which does help. I gain everything; I gain supporting a charity – if it’s not Starlight then some of the pubs or social clubs or hotels, they’ve got their own charities to support. So, there are good causes, I meet all sorts of people and the hours are my own.

How is business now?

T: You said after six months you had 35-40 machines, how many do you have now?

G: I did have about 120 but I’ve lost a few sites. I’d say, at the minute, I’ve got about 110 machines in sites.

T: Would you say that is enough to bring in a comfortable income?

G: I’d like another 15 or 20. Some of the ones I’ve got are really good, most are good. At the minute I’ve got about 15 spare machines going so could do with finding a few more sites.

T: What kind of income do you bring in?

G: I make a reasonable living. I pay for the bills, I pay the expenses. I won’t be a millionaire, but it’s reasonable.

T: So you aim to get a few more machines out there?

G: I’d like to get another 15 machines out.

T: How much of your week would that take up if you had 120 or so machines?

G: I used to go round every two weeks but I find with some sites it’s enough to go round every three to four weeks.

My theory is that if somebody has got their favourite sweets and they sell out, but they’ve got a craving for a bit of sugar, then they’ll try something else. Seems to be working on the whole. When I went round once a fortnight, an average machine would sell about 30 products. If I go round every three to four weeks, it’s more like 60 or 70. Sometimes the whole machine is emptied.

I’m finding that I don’t need to go out as often but I’m trying to make sure that most of the sites I do go to, if they’re running short, give me a call. It saves me time and expense, and allows me a little time off. The nice thing about the job is I can work whichever days I like.

T: So you enjoy the flexibility it has given you?

G: Yes. Overall, it’s a nice, pleasant job. There’s a lot of job satisfaction. You meet a lot of people, you’re your own boss, working for good causes, which does help.

What are your plans?

T: What are your business plans for the future?

G: I’m getting on a bit, almost 65. So I’m looking forward to taking it a bit easier. I’ve got a colleague across the road and I’m hoping that he might help me out a bit. So if I do take the time off, he’s there to help out. If I go away for a week, he can take calls and go out in case of emergencies.

T: So it’s a retirement income?

G: Yes. I think, these days, with all the bills coming in, you do need to work that extra bit.

Read about another retiree who has chosen franchising to provide an income here.

Fruit machine repairer to vending franchise owner

Fruit machine repairer to vending franchise owner

John Welsh was a repairer of fruit machines and now operates Tubz machines across Liverpool and the North West.


John at one of his vending sites

Tubz: Before you invested in Tubz what kind of opportunity were you looking for?

John Welsh: Well, I wasn’t particularly looking to invest in anything at the time. I just sort of fell into it. I used to fix fruit machines and I stumbled across them while I was doing that.

T: So you weren’t really looking at franchises or other opportunities?

JW: No, I wasn’t. I basically started doing it as a bit of a sideline and it grew.

T: How many machines did you start off with?

JW: I only started off with one, funnily enough. I must have been one of the first people in the UK, it was about 10 years ago. So unlike a lot of people I didn’t actually buy a franchise package off Tubz, I just bought one machine.

T: How many machines do you think you need to be able to go full-time?

JW: A hundred, I would say.

T: When did you go full time operating vending machines?

JW: It’s probably about 2 years ago actually as I had a full time job and not many machines until then. But since then we’ve really ramped it to have machines in lots of locations.

T: What area do you cover?

JW: The whole of the North West, pretty much. We’re actually based in Liverpool but we cover Chester, North Wales, Wigan, St Helen’s, part of Manchester. Quite a large area.

T: Are you still expanding or are you quite happy as you are?

JW: No, we’re still expanding. We just added another 20 machines yesterday.

T: Is it a joint operation?

JW: Yes, there’s two of us. He was someone who was selling up and I offered to buy him out, then we had a bit of a chat and in the end we decided, rather than do that, we’d come together.

He’s got money behind him, I’ve got time. So it works quite well. Hence why we’re growing.

T: As you grow do you think you’ll be able to handle the business with just the two of you?

JW: No, we’ll have to take staff on. We have had staff in the past but it’s just the two of us at the minute. We’ll need some help which will free up some more time for me. I’m pretty good at finding sites, you see. I find probably 80% of the sites myself.

T: Are you happy with your career move from fixing machines to owning them?

JW: Yes, definitely. And the team at Tubz are really helpful as well. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them and look forward to a prosperous future working with them.

Find out more about Tubz franchisees and their stories and experiences in our Testimonials

Tim found a new franchising career after redundancy

Tim found a new franchising career after redundancy

Tim found a successful new career franchising after being made redundant and a previous franchise not delivering.


Tim out and about at one of his sites

How did you get started?

Tubz: Before you decided to invest in a Tubz bundle, what kind of opportunity were you looking for and why?

Tim Beckley: Basically I wanted to be self-employed. So I had a look on the internet, I searched a few opportunities and Tubz was one of them. There was another option I tried first, but they didn’t deliver what they promised where Tubz did. So I lost a bit of money on them. Tubz did exactly what they said they’d do. I’m happy I’ve gone with them. (more…)